Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The More Things Change

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."

This verse keeps threading it's way through my mind. The context has to do with conduct in the church but this verse reminds me of my own joy, patience and faithfulness in light of my situation.

The most recent CT scan did show a second mass but the Dr. is hard pressed to say what it is without a biopsy. However, because my blood work is good and my tumor markers are dramatically reduced from April, it's unlikely that the second mass is a tumor. It's in my large intestine and they could see some fluid so it could lots of things besides a tumor. He just can't say for sure.

We'll be monitoring it through various indicators but, for now, we're back on track with the same chemo drugs and another CT scan in 6-8 weeks. So, the prayer request remains the same (GOD HEAL!).

Again, the spots that showed up on my liver in May disappeared in July and the tumor is not getting any bigger (GOD IS HEALING!). My hair seems to be shrinking though not as a direct result of chemo; more like a reaction to a reaction of one of the symptoms of one of the chemo drugs. Luckily, we know that God loves bald men (Lev 13:40-41 - go ahead and click it; you know you want to). That little bit of knowledge helps me alleviate a growing desire to pray for immediate hair regrowth (can believers do that?) and be content with what He provides. Plus, I saw little wisps of hair already.

My energy level is getting better though I'm slightly anemic because of the chemo. I get cold very easily (hence the sweaters in July) and sometimes get winded doing normal things. Pain management is pretty good though my taste buds have changed. I used to say I love cats because they taste like chicken but these days even cats have no appeal.

Ah, to be joyful, patient and faithful in times like this. Optimism, where have you been lately?

In the Palm of His Hand,
Rod Bayron

Hats and hats

Well, here we are again ...

The mass hasn't really changed in size from previous scans. Doctor says the mass could be scar tissue from radiation or swelling or it could still be mostly tumor. The good news is that it's not growing but the bad news is no surgery in the near future. So, we're back to the current treatment and then another CT scan in 6-8 weeks. However my most immediate issue is an ever growing bald spot. So, those over 6' tall are to be reminded that kindness is one of the fruits of the Spirit. For my part, I think berets and fedoras are going to come back into style soon.

In the Palm of His Hand,
Rod Bayron

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Is it CT scan or CAT scan?

Today is the Day

... well, one of them anyway.

I go in for a CT scan at 3:30pm. This scan will determine whether the tumor has shrunk enough to be operable. The best possible result is that the scan will show no tumor at all but even if it's still there, we're hopeful for an operation.

These past few weeks have been the most difficult. If there is an ebb and flow to these things, I'm certainly in the ebb. It's been a time of Joy without smiles and without laughter. I'm assured the Joy is there; I simply lack the strength to express it and, sometimes, even to acknowledge it. I have a Bedrock and a Cornerstone that keeps me grounded - for that I am grateful.

We won't know the results until Monday and then we'll know what the next steps will be.

In the Palm of His Hand,
Rod Bayron

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Joy is 55.3

Marking the Tumor

Remember those Month of Joy posts I did in March, well before I was diagnosed with cancer in April? I have a new one; Joy is a number and that number is 55.3.

It is a number that has quickly become Gail's new favorite. It is a number that nearly brings me to tears. Fortunately, I retain enough mannishness to resist that particular urge. 55.3 is the source of smiles around the Bayron household these days. It is a number ... yeah I know; enough already and tell us what it means. Simply put, it means the cancer cells are dying.

When I was diagnosed in April, they ran a test to establish a tumor marker; a number to help determine if the different therapies are effective. In April, the number was 163. On July 1, the number was ... well, you know.

While the chemo and radiation therapies appear effective on a physical level, you need to know what you mean to me on a spiritual and emotional level. Let's face it - willingly taking poison every day in the form of a pill or IV infusion or having a radiation gun pointed at your belly does little to lift up the spirit or encourage the heart.

Many of you are praying; some every day. Many of you ask "How are you doing?" with a genuine desire to know. Many of you have shared your own cancer experiences that have encouraged me. Many of you have sent notes, text messages, emails, cards, and books reminding me who I am and to Whom I belong. Part of the joy of 55.3 is that I get to share it with you; without that, the number becomes merely ... informational.

The next milestone is July 18. That's when the CT scan is scheduled to determine if the tumor has shrunk enough to be operable. Regardless of whether it's operable or not, may Joy be my response.

Eva Update

My son and daughter-in-law had a second opinion about Eva's condition and the meeting went very well. The surgery will happen in March/April with a few appointments in between to monitor Eva. We recently got to Facetime with Eva and she's very alert, loves Itsy Bitsy Spider and does her best to sing along. Continue praying for them; the procedure as described seems daunting but the doctor will remodel her skull without having to introduce artificial material and, hopefully, the recovery time will be less.

In the Palm of His Hand,
Rod Bayron